On Tuesday Grigorian will co-star with Karita Mattila at London’s Royal Opera in Claus Guth’s much anticipated new Jenufa. The sopranos were in rehearsals in March 2020 when the pandemic forced opera houses worldwide to close. That Covent Garden was able to reunite its intense leading ladies so swiftly (albeit with different tenors) is remarkable, and all Janacek fans will be grateful that the production will be filmed.

Today’s Cleveland Orchestra’s 1965 performance was likely a rare Arroyo-Janacek encounter. My only live Glagolitic to date occurred twenty years after the Shaw concert at the opposite corner of Ohio when James Conlon conducted it at the Cincinnati May Festival with Lorna Haywood as the soprano soloist.

My first live Janacek of any kind also occurred at the May Festival; in 1982 Klaus Tennstedt made his debut (and only appearance there) with an electric Sinfonietta followed by a roof-raising Carmina Burana.

I’d finally heard a Janacek opera in 1988 when Opera Orchestra of New York presented Jenufa with Gabriela Benackova and Leonie Rysanek! The ovation after their second act remains the most fervent I’ve ever been a part of!


Janacek: Mša glagolskaja 

Severance Hall
4 November 1965

Martina Arroyo
Grace Reginald
Jerold Siena
David Ford

David Gooding, organ

Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Cleveland Orchestra

Conductor: Robert Shaw

Janacek: Mša glagolskaja 

Royal Albert Hall, London
19 July 2019

Asmik Grigorian
Jennifer Johnston
Ladislav Elgr
Jan Martiník

Peter Holder, organ

BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Chorus & Orchestra

Conductor: Karina Canellakis

Both versions of the Glagolitic Mass can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory

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